This article appeared as part of the cover package – "Pick Your Bliss" – in the August 2015 issue of Virtuoso Traveler. Five relaxation-driven vacations are profiled. This section is about reconnecting with your family. To learn more about family-based travel, click here.
Not-at-all-fun fact: Americans leave 430 million vacation days
on the table each year. While day-to-day responsibilities can often push quality time with our clans into the background, there’s no time like the present to buck this trend and bring bonding to the forefront with a family trip.
Jim Silver, a Boston-based Virtuoso traveler and father of two adult children, sums it up:
“Vacations are a chance for everyone, including my grandkids, to be together. As I’ve gotten older, I’d much rather have my family in the same place, enjoying each other’s company, than purchase something that won’t provide the same type of lasting memories.”
Now to the heart of the matter: How and where should your family bonding take place? Of course, every brood is different, but here are a few ideas.
Come to the Table
At the 68-room Blackberry Farm
in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, you can go horseback riding and share stories around the campfire. The highlight for many travelers, however, is the family-style dining in the James Beard Award-winning Barn at Blackberry Farm. “The staff is all about the absence of set agendas, which makes it a perfect family vacation spot,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Rachel Morrell of Carmel, Indiana. “And the food is amazing.”
Whether staying in cozy Cottage Suites or a variety of three- and four-bedroom cottages and houses, families feel right at home at Blackberry Farm. Suites from $930, cottages from $1,525, houses from $3,230; Virtuoso amenities include breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.
Most cruise lines offer family-centric incentives these days, but Aqua Expeditions’
Peruvian Amazon sailings provide extra allure (think exploring the world’s largest tropical rain forest and interacting with indigenous populations). “This is a special part of the world,” says Virtuoso advisor Cassandra Bookholder of Phoenix, “and this voyage offers a learning experience that both adults and children will find magical.”
Cruise the Amazon with Aqua Expeditions on all-inclusive 3-, 4-, and 7-night voyages aboard the 24-passenger Aqua Amazon or 32-passenger Aria Amazon. Departures: Multiple dates August 1 to December 29, 2015; from $3,165 per adult (children under 12 receive a 20 percent discount).
Celebrate Good Times
An exchange of vows nat-urally brings generations together, and many Virtuoso travel advisors specialize in weddings and honeymoons. Susan Moynihan of Orlando, Florida, is one such advisor; she recently planned a 65- person wedding in Cabo San Lucas for California resident Elise Muhawi and her husband, Christian.
“Everything we’d hoped for came true,” says Elise. “We wanted to disconnect from our re-alities back home and create memorable experiences for everyone who attended. That wouldn’t have been possible without an advisor like Susan.”
Overlooking the Sea of Cortés, Cabo’s 57-room Esperanza
resort offers a private beach setting to take the plunge. Doubles from $550; Virtuoso amenities include breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit.
If you'd be interested in working with a Virtuoso advisor on your next trip(s) – family-focused or not – click below to connect.